For years now, I’ve had a great relationship with the crew at Smith Optics. In fact, I’d say they were one of the first manufacturers to jump in and support this site as a voice in the outdoor industry. I can still remember getting some sample Smith Cascade goggles way back in 1999 as some of the first items for use and review on the site. Now, almost 11 years later, both Smith and this site have grown up in many ways.

I was lucky enough to have a personal tour of Smith’s manufacturing facilities in Clearfield, Utah and can attest first-hand to their dedication to building top-notch eyewear here in the United States. While there are a few components that are sourced from overseas (Austria and Italy), I’d say nearly all (maybe 90%) of the components used in their goggle production comes from Smith’s own factory or nearby manufacturing partners in Utah, Idaho and Washington State. Sunglasses are an international affair — sourced from Italy, France, China, Japan and Taiwan.

My guides through the Wonka Factory were Will McNeal (Q/A Manager) and the world-famous PR guru, Greg Randolph, a.k.a. Chopper. I met every key player in R&D, sourcing, assembly, quality-control, packaging and customer service — let me tell you, I’ve never seen a cleaner manufacturing outfit nor have I seen a happier bunch of employees. These folks LOVE their jobs and I love that it is happening in my backyard. Here are some photo highlights of the tour.

Sunglass Lens Milling Machine

Final Touches on Smith Sunglasses

Stamping Goggle Lens Material

Carefully Placing Smith Logos on the Lens

Water-based Graphic Design Transfer Process… Very cool!

Graphic Design Applied — Ready for Final Clearcoat

Smith Goggles — Final Inspection and Packaging

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About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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